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Bates Motel Season 2, Episode 3 Review: “Caleb”

Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 3 "Caleb"
Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 3 "Caleb"
Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 3 "Caleb"

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Posted March 18, 2014 by

Over the next two weeks, I plan to go back and re-watch the first seasons of both Bates Motel and Hannibal. Since I go through a lot of television series during a given year, it’s hard to remember the small details from everything. I bring this up because I completely forgot about that scene where Norma tells Norman about her being raped by her brother. I remember it being during the finale but that detail seemed to elude me. It’s an important detail at that because it sets up tonight’s entire episode.

Bates Motel Season 2, Episode 2 Review: “Shadow of a Doubt”

As you can probably guess, Caleb is Norma’s brother. According to Norma, Caleb raped her repeatedly for years when she was young. Needless to say, the last person she would ever want to see is her brother. Caleb is brought to life by Kenny Johnson (The Shield, Sons of Anarchy). He is an actor I am quite fond of and he has the creepy future villain vibe down. He shows up at the Bates Motel while Norma is out by Dylan lets him inside after learning who he is. Dylan of course has no knowledge of the past, yet, and is taken in by Caleb’s views on Norma “being Norma”. When she gets home and finds the two sitting in the kitchen she inevitably freaks out and kicks him out of her home. Vera Farmiga absolutely kills it during this scene and she continues to be one of the best parts of the show.

If you had never seen Bates Motel before, and came in during about half the scenes from “Caleb” you might mistake it for some ABC Family teen drama. It is no secret that I’m glad Bradley’s gone, but as soon as one girl leaves another must take her place. Enter Cody, a young rouge type high school girl that Norman befriends after meeting her at the play, then later at Bradley’s awkward memorial. I think these relationships are important, because Norman is something of a ladies man in his own, momma’s boy kind of way. Knowing where he ends up, any girl he meets is a potential victim, as shown by Miss Watson’s death last season. I don’t know if Cody will be as obnoxious as Bradley was, but tonight’s episode didn’t give me a huge amount of insight one way or the other. All the scenes that involve just teenagers seem to feel very out of place on this show. I don’t know why exactly, but going from hardcore blood and murder to teen problems just doesn’t mesh well. It isn’t terrible, but scenes like Bradley’s memorial just tend to come off as unrealistic in a show that already pushes those boundaries heavily.

On the Norma front, due to town politics, she ended up not getting the lead in the play. However, this does lead her to make a new friend. The now ex-director invites Norma to her swanky home for a cocktail party. Norma finds herself fitting in for the first time and actually meets a nice new man who could finally be a decent addition to her life. Norma definitely needs more people to interact with other than Norman and Dylan, so I find this to be a welcome change. It will be interesting to see what happens, given her new friend’s kingpin status.

On the Dylan front, he had two things going on this week. Both involved dealing with apparent nut jobs. Zane’s retaliation last week was met with a greater retaliation from the rival family. Dylan gives him some good, albeit pointless advice, and this looks to be the beginning of an intense blowback. Dylan also spent time with Caleb for a lot of the episode. Caleb basically charms Dylan with a sob story that may or may not be true, and even when Norma and Dylan have the final confrontation at the episode’s end, he still seems to be on Caleb’s side.

Bates Motel is moving along in its normal fashion and seems to be getting more and more into its own twisted style. It’s good and bad. For fans it seems mostly good, but I don’t see this season boosting Bates Motel’s status much further than it already is. Not that that’s a bad thing. I enjoy the show week after week despite its flaws. It may not be on the level of the greats like Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Game of Thrones, but Bates Motel continues to display its unique charm. Next week is probably going to pick up where “Caleb” leaves off and I’m excited to see where this season goes!


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